2012: Month by month, the year in Columbia entertainment

otaylor@thestate.comJanuary 4, 2013 

It’s the first week of 2013, and there’s already a bevy of concerts, parties and events on the scene’s entertainment and cultural calendar. But let’s take a look back at 2012, if only to gauge how cool this year has to be to top the last.

January

The White Mule, the Main Street bar and listening room, closed on New Year’s Eve. A year later, it’s still missed. For one night in August, it was opened for Jacqueline Myers’ 50th birthday party.

Thank God, the hardcore punk band, disbanded. We’d miss the band more if former members weren’t playing in Can’t Kids and Burnt Books, two of the scene’s transcendent bands.

Salty Nut Cafe was damaged in a fire that caused an estimated $300,000 in damages. The popular 5 Points bar is now open.

Merle Haggard and Red Hot Chili Peppers canceled concerts at Township Auditorium and Colonial Life Arena, respectively. Haggard made up his date up on April 15, the Chili Peppers on April 7.

The inaugural TEDxColumbiaSC was held at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. After hearing the entertaining, informative and inspiring presenters, TEDxColumbiaSC reinforced my belief in Columbia. The next conference is Jan. 21.

Charleston’s Elise Testone, a member of Justin Smith & The Folk Hop Band, placed sixth on the 11th season of “American Idol,” which was won by Phillip Phillips.

February

Mint Condition, the ’80s R&B band, failed again. It was scheduled to open Keith Sweat’s concert at the CLA, but three band members took the stage to tell the crowd that Stokley, the lead singer, would be unable to perform. When the band opened for Prince at the arena in March 2011, there were several technical issues during the performance, if performance is even a fair assessment.

The hopes of South Carolina, which has long seemed primed to make an impact in hip-hop music, faded a bit when Darnell Rodriguez Mealing, widely known by his recording name Boss G, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison. Mealing pleaded guilty in 2011 in U.S. District Court to one count of distributing crack cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm. Judge Cameron McGowan Currie decided Mealing deserved a longer prison sentence than recommended because he had led a violent lifestyle, using assault rifles and his status in the Folk Nation gang to carry out drug deals. Hip-hop pretends to demand authenticity, that its stars are “real.” What happens when being real really gets you in trouble?

Ben G’s mixtape, “Cak-Ill-Ak Muzik,” caught the attention of superstar rappers like T.I. The mixtape, presented by DJ Green Lantern, who has worked with Eminem and hosts “The Invasion” on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Hip-Hop Nation channel, could be a harbinger: The B-FAM movement might be ready to break out in 2013. Tyler Thigpen, a backup quarterback for the Buffalo Bills who played at Coastal Carolina University, was at the release show. Ben G, who has toured with Gorilla Zoe, is one of the city’s best draws. Can we get my dude on the St. Pat’s in Five Points lineup?

Rapper P. Watts was selected to freestyle for a segment of MTV2’s “Sucker Free Countdown.” Watts wore a USC baseball cap and jacket.

As part of the online packaging of Sports Illustrated’s 2012 swimsuit issue, a snippet of Toro Y Moi’s “Still Sound” was used as the music for a video starring model Chrissy Teigen. Chaz Bundick, who records as Toro, will release “Anything in Return” Jan. 22.

Mardi Gras Columbia, hosted by Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, included a parade down Rosewood Drive. It is a highlight of On the Scene’s time in Columbia. Judging from the galleries posted by The State, Thomas Hammond, Forrest Clonts, Stereofly, Incandescent Images and others, the 3,000 folks who partied and paraded had similar experiences. There were two stages at City Roots, on either side of the building, that didn’t interfere with each other. And inside the building, interference from the outside noise was minimal. The performance run of FatRat Da Czar, The Get Wets, Those Lavender Whales, Can’t Kids, Chemical Peel and Sweet Vans will be hard for any local festival to beat. Perhaps Tom Hall should get into booking.

We learned that Joey Thompson, half of Dinobrite Productions, looks like actor Ryan Gosling. Or so he thinks. A video of Thompson teaching how to look like “The Notebook” star has been viewed more than 510,000 times on YouTube.

The Nickelodeon Theatre, which moved into its new Main Street home in September, implored people not to go see “Shame,” a film about a sex addict, at the theater. That was the message on papers stuck to posts around town. The posts chided actors Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender, saying their performances “will only serve to ruin your sexual standards.” Great advertising. The movie was kind of limp.

The singing rapper Drake put on a marvelous performance at the CLA. I’ve always appreciated his prodigious hit-making talent, but his stamina and breath control suggested his hard work extends beyond the studio. He doesn’t need multiple hype men on stage to finish his often emotive lyrics. One of his openers was Kendrick Lamar, whose album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” made prestigious year-end best-of lists. And to think that during his set there were people on Twitter asking who he was.

March

Chris Benz, a rising New York fashion designer, showed a line of clothes at Girls Night Out, a fundraiser for EdVenture Children’s Museum held in conjunction with Coplon’s clothing store. This year, in fairness to the clothes, let’s use models to walk instead of the store’s customers.

Jack Van Loan, the Oregon native who is a retired Air Force colonel, Vietnam veteran and ex-POW, retired after two decades years working for St. Pat’s in Five Points, the festival he promised to clean up. Charles Wilkie, who helped book St. Pat’s for 10 years, also left. The festival celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The Hollywood fashion critic Cojo was here for Wine Dine & Design, a fashion event to benefit The Walker Foundation.

Township Auditorium began its Loading Dock Live series, the concerts held in the venue’s parking lot.

Runners took to the streets as part of the Columbia SC Marathon, the first 26.2-mile race in Columbia since the Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials in 2000.

April

Kevin Olusola, a cellist, beatboxer and member of Pentatonix, winners of NBC’s “The Sing Off,” performed at Shandon Baptist Church.

Weaving the Fate, the band formerly known as Villanova, released “WTF — The EP,” a five-song set that featured a cover of Tyga’s “Rack City.”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers was arguably the best rock show at the arena since Motley Crue in 2006, the year singer Vince Neil got smacked in the head with a bottle. At RHCP, dudes took their T-shirts off, girls were dancing like they were in dance clubs, the light show was extraordinary and the band was energetic and on point. The city needs more rock shows.

Jeff Norwood, a blues guitarist, died. He wasn’t always into the blues. Jay Matheson, owner of Jam Room Recording Studio, said Norwood, who he grew up with in McBee, got him into Black Sabbath. “He was my oldest friend. We were kids together. He was a great dude. He was a nut,” Matheson said.

For a few hours, Palmetto Public Record, a local blog, was the focus of the media elite after the blog published a post that Gov. Nikki Haley was about to be indicted. National and local media clamored to verify the blog’s report, which didn’t identify a source. “The item’s rapid journey from hearsay to mainstream journalism, largely via Twitter, forced Ms. Haley to rush to defend herself against a false rumor. And it left news organizations facing a new round of questions about accountability and standards in the fast and loose ‘retweets do not imply endorsement’ ethos of today’s political journalism” wrote The New York Times in a takedown of the very culture it inhabits.

Charlamagne Tha God exploded on MTV’s networks. He appears on shows such as “Guy Code” and “Hip Hop POV,” and he hosted a “Teen Wolf” marathon. He also made headlines for getting into a verbal altercation with Busta Rhymes; getting jumped for a “drop”; and for “The Breakfast Club,” the New York-based morning radio show he co-hosts, being ranked No. 1 in The Source magazine’s Power 30 issue.

The Indie Grits Festival extended to two weekends and reaffirmed what we already knew: the festival, already a popular event in the Southeast, has infinite potential.

This entry is simply a short love letter: Flock and Rally, I love you. You make this city feel special.

Camp Lo performed at New Brookland Tavern for Shekeese The Beast’s birthday party. It felt good to be drenched from rocking to hip-hop.

A month after releasing “One More Night,” Jordan Miller announced he was leaving The Movement. “Hey fans, just wanted to formally apologize for all of this craziness. I love this band. From the day Josh and I started, I have loved it, but this was a decision I had to make for myself to make me happy,” Miller wrote on Facebook. Josh Swain, who co-founded the band with Miller but had previously left, returned. In another post on the band’s page, Miller reacted to what he felt were public slights by a former bandmate. Miller released a solo EP in December.

USC student Kristin Todd won $10,000 on the season premiere of CMT’s The Singing Bee.”

May

Shout out to the Rosewood Crawfish Festival for moving the eating tent off Rosewood Drive. It relieved street clogging. The festival had to move its 2013 date from May 4 to May 11 because of the May 4 Kenny Chesney concert at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Who knew what to expect when New Edition, along with Bobby Brown, performed at the CLA? Brown delivered a spectacle, holding the mic stand — or was he being held up by the mic stand? — and barely dancing the choreographed steps. But when it was time to solo, he almost made your forget his recent history. But then he started talking.

Dave Matthews Band’s lighting crew rehearsed at Carolina Coliseum.

I won’t go as far as to say I was robbed at Trustus Theatre’s Vista Queen pageant, but how was anyone supposed to beat Gerald Floyd?

June

The inaugural Columbia Style Week, a five-day event, was held. There were some first-year problems. CSW wrapped with a runway show, not in the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center as advertised, but in the Saki Tumi parking lot. The dearth of local designers and stores at CSW was bewildering. CSW returns June 11-15.

Lexington’s Eric Bradford finished eighth on CMT’s reality series “Redneck Island,” a “Survivor”-like show.

The Rolling Stone Bar received a letter from a Rolling Stone magazine lawyer stating that the bar’s name was infringing on the magazine’s trademark.

Columbia native Ryan Monroe, who plays keyboard and guitar in Band of Horses, released a solo album, “A Painting of a Painting on Fire.” The album, a musical mosaic that, while complex, maintained a prismatic sense of pop music, was reviewed favorably.

July

Hometown Columbia purchased WWNU-FM Carolina 92.1 and WWNQ-FM Country Legends 94.3. WWNU was rebranded as The Palm, a nod to South Carolina’s nickname as the Palmetto State and to how the station will be programmed: The music is hand-picked. WWNQ became Carolina Country. Hootie & The Blowfish guitarist Mark Bryan was featured prominently on 92.1.

In October 2011, Club XS, a four-in-one club, opened in the spaces that used to house Banana Joe’s, Saddle Ridge, Element Nightlife and Headliners. The club was owned by Robert Hills, who also owned Club RA and Tabu. By July, the club had been renamed Jet Nightlife with Myron Chinn in charge.

Jillian Owens, known as the ReFashionista blogger, appeared on the Rachael Ray Show.”

After almost eight years, Chris Bickel ended Mr. B’s Goodtime Karaoke Explosion, the Wednesday night event at Art Bar.

Joan Rivers has a way with words — and topics. And nothing is off limits. During her performance at the Koger Center, she had jokes about Susan Smith, Casey Anthony, sexual identity and ethnicities. She wore a sequins robe with sequins heels. She was uproariously bawdy. As her show closed, she trashed the stage, throwing potted plants and trees — rentals! — into the audience. I enjoyed it as much as Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who sat just a few seats away.

Toro Y Moi and Tyler, the Great collaborate on “ Hey You.” Do we want to hear more?

Robert Newton, the local guitar guru, was honored with a tribute concert at 5 Points Pub. Newton has suffered three debilitating strokes in a four-year period. Newton’s students have included James Beresford, Charles Funk, Daniel Kyre, Les Hall, Patrick Davis, Herbie Jeffcoat, Jeff Kozelski, as well as Brian Conner and his brother, the late Chris Conner.

Lake Murray Communications rebranded WZMJ-FM 93.1 as Z93 The Lake, a variety hits station. The move knocked ESPN Radio out of the market. Clemson University football is still carried by WZMJ.

August

Sent By Ravens, a band from Hartsville that was signed to Tooth and Nail Records, said farewell to the music scene.

The weather for the Famously Hot Music Festival was pleasantly warm, but music fans gave the three-day festival in Finlay Park a cold shoulder. The festival, featuring 15 performers, wasn’t a dud. But the attendance was.

Miss South Carolina Teen Rachel Wyatt was crowned Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2013. In July, just after winning the South Carolina contest, Wyatt got an extra burst of media attention by doing the prayerful move — down on one knee, fist to head — made famous by NFL quarterback Tim Tebow after he scores a touchdown. She hadn’t planned on “Tebowing” after winning Saturday night, but when all the girls began congratulating her, some began asking her why she wasn’t Tebowing, she said. So she obliged.

September

Chasing August, a pop-punk band that delivered its music with clenched teeth and springy leg kicks, reunited — for one show. The band was once one of the bankable Friday-night draws on the scene. The reunion happened because the old friends gathered for guitarist Slade Johnson’s wedding.

Long-time Five Points retailer Debbie McDaniel received a letter from Neiman Marcus. The giant high-end retailer said the name of Revente’s Last Call, McDaniel’s 1,800-square-foot store on Millwood Avenue opened two years ago to support the Women’s Shelter, could be confused by consumers with Last Call by Neiman Marcus, a clearance store for the retailer’s out-of-season clothing and accessories.

Columbia native Danny!, the erudite rapper and producer, performed “Evil” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” After myriad false starts, it looks like Danny!, deservedly, is getting his shine.

Maybe, just maybe, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s spoof of Carly Rae Jespen’s “Call Me Maybe,” which features Mayor Steve Benjamin and his predecessor Bob Coble, among others, is the best local video of the year.

Bluetile Skateshop, the 5 Points store, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a weekend of events in collaboration with Fork and Spoon Records.

October

ESPN’s “ College GameDay” set up shop for the second time on USC’s Horseshoe. Hootie’s frontman, Darius Rucker, was the guest picker.

An example of how it’s done: The Jam Room Music Festival, with its two stages, hosted a well-orchestrated party on Main Street. And it was great to see fellow cyclists cruising to and from the festival.

After six years of performances, Alternacirque, the alternative performance collective, hosted its final show at Art Bar.

Free Times celebrated its 25th anniversary — and was sold two months later.

South Carolina Pride moved to Main Street. The pride week, capped by a parade and festival, had been held in Finlay Park.

Cola-Con, the music and comics event, was held over two days. Ghostface Killah, who was joined by Sheek Louch, performed a rousing medley of hits. Many more would’ve seen the show if the set didn’t start an hour late — and if alcohol sales hadn’t been halted by an expired permit. The next night Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest performed. At the Con, the world was introduced to the story of “Princess Calabretta,” the butt-kicking MMA princess. But her debut wasn’t as stunning as the response to the Kickstarter campaign by the comic’s creators, Shigeharu Kobayashi and John Pading, which raised $4,000 more than the $500 it sought. Speaking of Kickstarter campaigns, when are you launching yours?

Death Becomes Even the Maiden changed its name to Parlour Tricks and released a self-titled album.

Bentz Kirby, the man of many bands who likes to gather the scene’s musicians like none other, suffered a heart attack. He got 12 staples in his chest, but Kirby is, thankfully, back rocking out.

November

Keven Cohen, the popular conservative talk show host, was fired by Clear Channel-owned WVOC-FM 100.1 five days before the presidential election. Cohen had been hosting the 3-6 p.m. slot since 1999. He was replaced by Jonathan Rush and Kelly Nash, also hosts of “The Morning Rush” on WVOC’s sister station WCOS-FM 97.5. The surprising move was made a year after Clear Channel eliminated the urban contemporary station WXBT-FM The Beat 100.1.

Mannon Turner fatally shot himself in Five Points Custom Tattoo, a 5 Points business. His death sparked an often vitriolic debate on a particular Facebook page.

The Restoration released “Honor Thy Father,” a concept album set in rural Lexington around 1950 that mines religious radicalism, the deafening power of interpretation and the use of violence to achieve subjugation. This band deserves recognition outside of the Midlands.

John Wesley Satterfield released “Goodbye Whiskey,” a goodbye of sorts to Columbia. He is yet another musician to leave town for Nashville.

December

Free Times’ Eva Moore tweeted this on Dec. 4: “Remember the 3 Rivers Music Festival? It’s back. July 12-13, 2013. They just told Council they’ll be asking for $$.” The announcement was like an early Christmas present — one that quite possibly needs to be returned.

Hardy Childers got a car. After selling his Oldsmobile Bravada to travel to Peru in 2008, Childers has been catching rides or walking when he’s in town. Last month, as he was crossing a street thinking about a vehicle purchase, Childers was hit by a car. Two days later, he bought a Kia Rio.

South Carolina’s DJ Loui Vee appeared on BET’s “106 & Park.”

“Mirage Rock,” the fourth album by Band of Horses, a Charleston-based band fronted by Columbia native Ben Bridwell, was No. 19 on Rolling Stones’ albums of the year list.

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